Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has rejected plans by the federal government to establish cattle colony in the state.
He however initiated measures to abate the intermittent clashes between farmers in the state and Fulani herdsmen.
The federal government recently proposed the establishment of grazing colonies in the states following the recent killings of about 70 persons in Benue State.
The measure, it said, would reduce clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
Addressing traditional rulers, presidents of town unions and other relevant individuals and organisations at the Akanu Ibiam International Conference Centre, Abakaliki on Friday, Mr. Umahi said the state had no resources to embark on any cattle ranching or colony because it was an agrarian state.
A statement signed by his media aide, Emmanuel Uzor, on Saturday, said the governor initiated measures on how to maintain peace between farmers and herdsmen across the state by fully engaging the traditional rulers and leaders of Myetti Allah in the area of sustaining the peace between the two groups.
Mr. Umahi, who is a member of the Presidential Committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to reconcile and ensure peace between the farmers and herdsmen across the country, said peace was a panacea for achieving development.
He said the state would be in constant collaboration with relevant individuals and organisations as well as leaders of the herdsmen in other to maintain peace and security.
The statement said, “To ensure security and safety of our people and herdsmen who have lived peacefully with us all these years without problem and to ensure there is no infiltration of killer herdsmen from neighboring states and countries, traditional rulers are to collate data on herdsmen operating in their communities across the state for easy identification and maintenance of peace. The data should include herdsmen’s names, location and contact phone numbers of their leaders.”
“Traditional rulers should hold constant meetings with the herdsmen so that they can identify those from Niger Republic and other areas who foment trouble.
“Governor Umahi is a member of the Presidential Committee headed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to reconcile and ensure peace between the farmers and herdsmen across the country and he is doing everything within the ambit of the law to ensure peace in his own state as charity begins at home.”
Mr. Umahi noted that traditional rulers were not just the custodians of culture and tradition but also part of peace building.
He stated, “They must ensure peace in their localities by first of all identifying the people living in their communities especially the herdsmen.
“No herdsman is allowed to graze their cattle in our lands and in an event of that the herdsmen pay the double value of crops damaged and on repeat of such, the herdsmen will be forced to leave the community.”
“The cows are dear to the herdsmen same way the crops are dear to the farmers, most especially our belief in sanctity of human life which has been wasted in some areas in the country.”
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